Transforming Linguistics: Speak's Meteoric Rise in Global Language Learning

Bryce Adams


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The language learning landscape is witnessing a paradigm shift, thanks to Speak, the AI-powered app that's taking the world by storm. Launched in 2019 in South Korea, Speak has swiftly grown to over 10 million enthusiastic users. This growth trajectory has not gone unnoticed, catching the eye of savvy investors eager to fuel its expansion. As CEO Connor Zwick notes, Speak's user base has impressively doubled each year, now serving language learners in more than 40 countries.

This week, the dynamic startup secured a $20 million Series B extension, bolstered by the backing of influential investors such as Buckley Ventures, the OpenAI Startup Fund, Khosla Ventures, Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham, and LinkedIn executive chairman Jeff Weiner. With this infusion of capital, Speak's total funding reaches $84 million, catapulting its valuation to a striking half a billion dollars. This figure isn't just a testament to the app's past successes but also a promising indicator of its future potential in the rapidly evolving EdTech sector.

At the heart of Speak's innovation is its unique approach to language acquisition, prioritizing verbal communication over rote memorization. Founded by Connor Zwick and Andrew Hsu, Speak's methodology is built around engaging users in speaking patterns and practicing repetition, which is fundamental in achieving fluency. Unlike traditional methods, Speak diverges by focusing on speaking prowess, aiming to bridge the often neglected gap in technology-supported language learning.

Currently, Speak offers English and Spanish lessons, leveraging a speech recognition model meticulously trained on proprietary data to provide accurate feedback. The roadmap ahead includes developing lessons in French and expanding the app's linguistic repertoire. Furthermore, the team's 75 dedicated employees, spread across offices in San Francisco, Seoul, Tokyo, and Ljubljana, are working tirelessly to enhance real-time feedback on users' tone and pronunciation, enriching the learning experience.

Monetarily, Speak subscribes to a straightforward model, charging $20 per month or $99 annually for comprehensive access to its features. This revenue model supports the continuous development of their sophisticated AI models and global outreach. As Speak charts a course toward broader horizons, its commitment to facilitating meaningful linguistic connections stands at the forefront, promising an exciting journey for language enthusiasts worldwide.


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